He saw the abundance of the Old Country Buffet as being a symbol of his success, proof that he had transcended his old identity as being a poor immigrant.
Going to dinner on the http://www.oldcountrybuffet.com/menus/ in Seattle meant a huge evening out for my father and me. By their own admission, he’s not a very good cook. He could only prepare two dishes, both memories of his childhood in Jakarta, where his family lived before they immigrated to america through Holland: babi kecap, a garlicky pork dish simmered in ketjap medja (an Southeast Asian variation on soy sauce also known as kecap manis) and gado-gado, a salad of cucumber and tofu topped with peanut sauce. He never insisted i eat Indonesian food, though, only occasionally preparing babi kecap for lunch. All things considered, he had visit America to live like an American. That meant indulging in a specific amount of gluttony, a virtue in his mind in the event it came to eating.
His take a look at food was, but still is, admirably uncomplicated: Protein reigns supreme, therefore healthy bodies should take in a nightly serving of protein-rich steak or fish. He obsessed on the food groups in the dinner table. There must be three different but complementary parts of food on the plate: a small pile of vegetables (frozen corn or Brussel sprouts, which he dumped right into a bowl, and microwaved with at the very least three pats of butter before serving), a carbohydrate like French-fried potatoes or rice, as well as a slab of meat. And nowhere was this philosophy made quite so literal than on the Old Country Buffet.
When you walked in the door, the only thing you needed to do was pay the host at the front counter something similar to $11 to get granted an all-access pass to stations piled high with thoroughly American food: Main courses included roast beef, fish like halibut and salmon, baked chicken, pork chops, and steak if you got lucky. Greasy heaps of mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and green beans and corn that had a suspiciously similar texture towards the bagged stuff Dad nuked in the home could be bought at a nearby station. The platter of hot dinner rolls, still stuck together in a neat square, enjoyed a glossy sheen. Globs of congealed sauce stuck for the meat, dried out of hours within heat lamp. I may have only been eight or nine at the time, but even so I suspected that the food could not possibly be as healthy as my father insisted it had been.
We filled plastic tumblers with water or soda and sat together in a booth; there were no waiters, but we sometimes stayed seated till the crowds round the trays thinned a little. Basically we waited, I wasn’t able to drink my beverage, lest I ruin my appetite. When we served ourselves, I stubbornly picked at my food in silence, upset that I had no say in where or whatever we got to eat. Being raised in American, I looked down on the https://www.storeholidayhours.org/old-country-buffet-holiday-hours-open-closed-today/ as location for people looking for charity, when he saw such bountiful vcubkg at this kind of affordable price being a luxury. Though I never stated it out loud, I felt like my dad was forcing us to consume there while he was cheap, which he was intentionally depriving of us of the experiences of normal families, who ate at regular restaurants with waitresses.
In all honesty, my father can be cheap, and quite often with regards to dining out. As long as I actually have been alive, he has refused to tip waiters, an insufferable trait which includes occasionally called for a clandestine pursuit to an ATM to ensure that I could sneak the staff their due as he used the bathroom. Once, when my mother is at the final trimester of her pregnancy with me, she took him to some nice restaurant. He opened the menu, then abruptly got up and left. “I couldn’t stomach spending $70 on a single meal. That seemed a bit extravagant,” he informed me.